How is it like to be born without the sense of hearing? Of course we can’t answer that. We who are blessed with it. But for those who suffered the curse of silence, it’s worse than being marooned in an island alone without anybody to talk to.
One of those denied of hearing was Angelica Lopez , a 3 year old girl born without auditory nerves. She’s totally deaf.
To her delight, she was able to hear sounds for the first time after undergoing brain surgery embedding an apparatus bypassing the missing nerves in her inner ears.
Angelica is one of those few American children who are the beneficiary of a procedure called Auditory Brain stem Implant (ABI).
This device is a revolutionary piece of equipment that goes beyond cochlear implants. It brought a lot of happiness to deaf children who were born without hearing nerves.
University of Southern California audiologist Laurie Eisenberg, explained to Angelica’s parents that after the ABI is turned on, the child will be able only to hear like a newborn babe and not like a like a 3 year old kid.
At a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, during the presentation of the research, Laurie revealed that the child cried when she first heard the sounds.
After 5 months, the child used sign languages to describe the different sound she can distinguish already. And she also started to babble just like little baby’s do.
Children who can’t hear because of a missing cochlea can benefit from ABI . The device sends impulses through the electrodes to the auditory nerve which in turn sends it to the brain center responsible in identifying them as sounds.
According to experts this is the first step in bridging the gap. Electrical impulses are delivered directly to the neurons found on the brain stem where the nerve responsible for the sound detection is located.
But for few children children born without a functional hearing nerve, the ABI device is not of any use to them. The device for some reason doesn’t work for them.
A microphone is installed on the person’s ear to be able to hear. The device was approved by the FDA in the year 200 for adults use and for teenagers too who’s hearing nerves have been compromised by surgical procedures for a unique type of tumor.